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Showing posts from March, 2014

27 March 1168. Fateful Day?

27th March 1168 must have been one of the darkest days of William Marshal's life. According to Eyton*, on this day William's uncle, Earl Patrick of Salisbury, was killed in an ambush in Poitou, whereas William himself received a bad wound in his thigh and was taken captive, with no prospects of winning his freedom. In the long run, however, that day's events turned out to be the most fortunate for him. He could not have forseen that he had just taken the first step on the road to his brilliant career.

   The effigy of William Marshal in Temple Church, London (photo: Kjetilbjørnsrud, via Wikipedia)
William's maternal uncle**, Patrick, Earl of Salisbury, was Henry II's staunch supporter and one of few king's men of Anglo-Norman origin to hold post in the lands of Queen Eleanor. The king named him commander of his military forces in Aquitaine by 1163. In this he was given priority over Theobald Chabot, lord of Vouvent and the Poitevin constable of Aquitaine.
On that…

William Marshal Conquers BBC

Great news to all ardent admirers, but also to those who have never heard of Henry the Young King's friend and most celebrated champion,William Marshal. There is a BBC Two Programme about him coming on Wednesday, 26 March. Written and presented by Dr Thomas Asbridge (the author of the brilliant The First Crusade: A New History) and directed by Mr Jack MacInnes, it is going to bring pure joy to the watchers and make William Marshal proud again. At least I sincerely hope so :-) Many thanks to my friend Anerje for letting me know about it.

I am also reading, which I find even more exciting, that Dr Asbridge's latest book, A Knight's Tale, will be published in December 2014. It is going to be a "facinating and revealing” biography of William Marshal. Looking forward to it!

Happy Birthday to Mr. Richard Willis!

Happy Birthday to my dear friend and Henry the Young King's benefactor, Richard Willis, who took the risk of inviting me to write about the Young King forhis blog the other day, which was my first Henry the Young King official post. We met thanks to Ms. Sharon Kay Penman and her wonderful Angevin trilogy. But it was Thomas Becket, who actually kindled a spark of mutual interest within us, so many thanks to Saint Thomas (whom we disagree about).


Grasping the opportunity, I would like to recommend a few of Richard's brilliant posts from his blog (hope he doesn't mind). Here they are:

What Ifs and Possible Reigns: Matilda, Domina Anglorum
The Kings of England: Henry II Rise of the Capetians: France 1108-1226 Les Rois de France: Louis VII Les Rois de France: Philippe II The Vexing Question of the Vexin The Hammer that Forged a Marshal The Lord Marshal John d'Earley: Knight, Companion and Friend

Enjoy reading them as much as I did.



Devil's Brood Coming Tomorrow on BBC Two

Many thanks to my friend Anerje for sharing this great news on her blog: Professor Robert Bartlett begins a new series about the Plantagenets on BBC Two. The first part entitiled Devil's Brood is coming tomorrow, Monday 17th March. Check the link here. Because Henry the Young King's father, Henry II, was the first Plantagenet king, in the opening episode we're going to meet Henry the Young King's tempestuous family and- hopefully- Henry himself. Robert Bartlett is Wardlaw Professor of Medieval History at St Andrews University, Scotland and author of a must-have book, England Under the Norman and Angevin Kings 1075-1225. I wrote about the book and the Young King here. Hopefully, Henry's Polish scribe will be able to watch the episode where she lives :-)

The Illustrious Sister, Marie of Champagne

11 March was the day when Henry the Young King's elder sister Marie, Countess of Champagne died in 1198, aged fifty-three. Marie was Henry's half-sister, to be precise. To make it even more complicated, she was both Henry's and his wife, Marguerite's half-sister. The eldest child of Eleanor of Aquitaine (1124-1204) and Louis VII of France (1120-1180), Marie was born in 1145, eight years after her parents were married. The story of her arrival in this world is a well known one. Marie's mother, young Eleanor, her royal husband and his subjects must have been greatly disturbed by the fact that the years passed and much awaited male heir to the throne did not appear. Many became convinced that their queen was barren.



Eleanor decided to seek advice of Bernard of Clairvaux [later saint]. The meeting was arranged on the occasion of the dedication of Abbe Suger's newly built cathedral at Saint-Denis, in June 1144. Eleanor met Bernard in private to discuss her sister Pet…

5 March 1173. Henry the Young King escapes from Chinon

I want to wish Happy Birthday to one of the greatest medieval rulers (and one of my favourite), King Henry II, who was born on 5 March 1133 at Le Mans to Geoffrey le Bel of Anjou and Empress Matilda. Also, rather sheepishly, I have to mention that exactly forty years later, Henry’s eldest (surviving) son and heir, Henry the Young King gave his sire the worst birthday present ever. He escaped from Chinon Castle, where he was staying in his father's company, and made his way to the French territory, triggering what was to become the Great Revolt of 1173-74. Coming to his defence I need to point out that this was in greater measure Henry II’s own fault. To see what I mean, take a look at my last year's post entitled By the Example of Undutiful Absalom.
                          Chinon Castle today (image via Wikipedia)